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Health & Science - September 2018

Endocannabinoid Deficiency a cause for Fibromyalgia?

It’s taken some time, but over the decades, the medical community has finally recognized fibromyalgia as a physical disorder, but have only speculated as to its underlying cause.

In many medical marijuana approved states, fibromyalgia is the most common disorder of those who have applied for a card. Medical cannabis has been anecdotally shown to reduce many of the symptoms of fibromyalgia including pain, fatigue, sleep problems, digestive problems and mental fog.

Desperate fibromyalgia sufferers are turning to medical cannabis as a last resort and have been ecstatic with the results. Many patients have been incapacitated by fibromyalgia, unable to get out of bed, let alone work, have resumed activities that they never expected to do again in their lives, including working and exercising. It has been literally a “life saver” for many.

The question is why does cannabis seem to work so well? The answer, according to Dr. Ethan Russo, medical director of PHYTECS, is that those who have fibromyalgia suffer from Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency (CED). When you replenish the depleted endocannabinoid system with the necessary cannabinoids, the symptoms disappear.

Think of it in similar terms of someone with a Vitamin B deficiency feeling much better after taking supplements. For those who have studied the endocannabinoid system (ECS), you will know that its main function is to help the body maintain homeostasis.  When the body is in homeostasis, it is free from disease.

The ECS consists of cannabinoid receptors, C1 and C2, which are found in the brain, spinal cord, nerves, the stomach and other organs. It also controls many of our physiological processes such as pain, mood, memory and appetite. Our bodies naturally produce endocannabinoids, similiar to those in cannabis. That keeps our ECS functioning properly. When the endocannabinoids are depleted, we experience disorder and disease.

Those with severe fibromyalgia know, only too well, all the symptoms of this disorder. Pain is typically the worst, coupled with incapacitating fatigue. Irritable bowel syndrome and migraine are also very common symptoms. Russo is convinced that this is an indication of ECS deficiency. He purposed this theory as far back as 2001.

Recent research studies support this theory with evidence of cannabis usage decreasing pain, improving sleep and relieving gastric distress.

CED is based on the theory that there is a link between brain disorders and neurotransmitter deficiencies. Think dopamine shortage with Parkinson’s disease and serotonin and norepinephrine with depression. The best evidence for the CED theory is from an Italian migraine study. The results showed reduced levels of anandamide, an endocannabinoid, in the cerebrospinal fluid of chronic migraines sufferers versus healthy control subjects.

The ECS is known to regulate the transportation of food in the digestive tract as well as the release of digestive juices to break down food and inflammation. CED would account for digestive disorders like IBS which almost always accompany fibromyalgia.

There is much anecdotal evidence but little research evidence to substantiate Dr. Russo’s theory. He would like to conduct randomized controlled trials to prove or disprove the existence of CED. MRI and PET scans may one day by able to detect endocannabinoid levels in patients. That would allow a comparison of endocannabinoid levels in fibromyalgia patients versus healthy control subjects. That possibility may not be far away.

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How CBD Can Help with Anxiety

For decades, CBD has drawn increasing interest for its effects on the nervous system. We tend to hear a lot about CBD in the context of treating epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and nerve pain. But there’s also the potential for treating a range of neuropsychiatric disorders, from trauma and depression to stress and anxiety. In this guide, we lay out the case for using CBD for anxiety. We also discuss how to dial in the best CBD oil dosage for anxiety symptoms, and explore the best CBD oil for anxiety relief.

Anxiety is a broad term that covers a whole spectrum of feelings and experiences, from everyday worries and fears about life’s many challenges to the crippling apprehension of triggering situations. Left over from our evolutionary past, anxiety responses are hardwired into our neurons, as part of the adaptive systems that kept our ancestors alive. Transplanted into the complexities of social and civic life, those responses find all kinds of new outlets. And for many, those responses can quickly tip over into a disorder.

What Does CBD Have in Common With Prescription Anxiety Drugs?
Fortunately, numerous scientific studies—mostly on animals, but some on humans—have demonstrated that CBD can produce anxiolytic or anxiety-reducing effects. That’s because CBD appears to modulate the same systems in the brain as prescription anti-anxiety medications like Prozac and Xanax.

Currently, treatments for anxiety do two things. First, they can help increase serotonin levels in the brain by inhibiting the brain’s ability to reabsorb serotonin. This improves mood. Or, they can stimulate the brain to produce new neurons in the hippocampus, where neurogenesis has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression.

A 2013 study in Current Neuropharmacology demonstrated the link between cannabidiol and neurogenesis in humans. And a 2016 animal study showed that CBD can produce a fast-actingantidepressant and anti-anxiety effect by stimulating serotonin transmission in the brain.

Read on to find out how to find the best CBD oil for anxiety specifically. Then, take a look at our rundown of the dosages to try for different types of anxiety.

How to Find The Best CBD Oil for Anxiety
The most important thing is to remember that the best CBD oil for anxiety contains no THC. Regardless of your sensitivity to THC, the psychoactive chemical in cannabis, if you’re trying to treat anxiety, could take you in the wrong direction.

So check out high-quality CBD oils derived from hemp. Hemp plants produce exceptionally high quantities of cannabidiol with negligible (and often legal) levels of THC.

You can also take advantage of the calming properties of various essential oils in your CBD oil. Many CBD products contain infusions of other plant oils for fragrance and flavor. Some of the best CBD oil for anxiety, therefore, also contains lavender, cinnamon, spearmint, or other calming essences that can increase the anxiety-reducing effects of your CBD product.

Finding The Right CBD Oil Dosage For Anxiety
Anxiety exists on a spectrum, from everyday anxiousness and apprehension at major events or challenges to debilitating disorders. For this reason, no single CBD dose can address all anxieties. Furthermore, the studies on using CBD oil for anxiety have exclusively looked at “acute” dosing or dosing as needed. Unfortunately, that means there isn’t much data on using CBD oil daily or regularly to treat anxiety.

Try A Low CBD Oil Dosage for Anxiety Caused By Everyday Social Interactions

If you’re looking for relief from generalized anxiety or social anxiety that’s not interfering with your normal activities, using a low CBD dose is likely all you’ll need. To quickly achieve the anxiolytic effects of cannabidiol, take a few breaths off a CBD vape cartridge. If you’ve got a long day of stresses ahead, choosing a CBD edible might be a better choice, as the effects are usually less short-lived than vaping.

Use a Medium to High CBD Oil Dosage for Anxiety Disorders Like OCD and Panic Attacks
For more severe, acute attacks of anxiety and panic, take a larger dose of CBD. This will ensure that the cannabidiol will both inhibit serotonin absorption and increase serotonin signaling. CBD’s bodily effects will also kick in more noticeably. Often, bodily symptoms like tightness or soreness can trigger or exacerbate anxiety and panic. The overall calming effect of CBD can help eliminate this stress in the body, too.

Take More Frequent, High CBD Oil Dosage for Anxiety Related to PTSD

For extreme anxiety disorders, like PTSD, more frequent CBD oil doses may be helpful. Start with a medium to high CBD oil dosage for anxiety of this kind and work up to achieve your desired results.  Fortunately, the safety profile of cannabidiol is very good, and much lower than prescription anti-anxiety drugs.

To sum up, CBD is broadly useful for treating a variety of neuropsychiatric problems. And the best CBD oil for anxiety offers a safe and effective alternative medicine for treating many kinds of anxiety. Experiment with different CBD products and CBD oil dosage for anxiety relief tailored to your needs.

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